GM Firebird 1967-1981 Repair Guide

Wheel Bearings

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Properly adjusted bearings have a slightly loose feeling. Wheel bearings must never be preloaded. Preloading will damage the bearings and eventually the spindles. If the bearings are too loose, they should be cleaned, inspected, and adjusted.

Hold the tire at the top and bottom and move the wheel in and out of the spindle. If the movement is greater than 0.008 in. (0.005 in. for 1974 and later models), the bearings are too loose.

ADJUSTMENT



  1. Raise and support the car by the lower control arm.
  2.  
  3. Remove the hub cap, then remove the dust cap from the hub.
  4.  
  5. Remove the cotter pin and spindle nut.
  6.  
  7. Spin the wheel forward by hand. Tighten the nut until snug to fully seat the bearings.
  8.  
  9. Back off the nut 1 / 4 - 1 / 2 turn until it is just loose, then tighten it finger-tight.
  10.  
  11. Loosen the nut until either hole in the spindle lines up with a slot in the nut and insert the cotter pin. This may appear to be too loose, but it is the correct adjustment. The spindle nut should not be even finger-tight.
  12.  
  13. Proper adjustment creates 0.001-0.008 in. (0.001-0.005 in. 1974 and later models) of end-play.
  14.  

REMOVAL, PACKING & INSTALLATION 1967-69 Models



See Figures 1 through 13

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Fig. Fig. 1: Pry the dust cap from the hub taking care not to distort or damage its flange



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Fig. Fig. 2: Once the bent ends are cut, grasp the cotter pin and pull or pry it free of the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 3: If difficulty is encountered, gently tap on the pliers with a hammer to help free the cotter pin



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Fig. Fig. 4: Loosen and remove the castellated nut from the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 5: Remove the washer from the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 6: With the nut and washer out of the way, the outer bearings may be removed from the hub



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Fig. Fig. 7: Pull the hub and inner bearing assembly from the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 8: Use a small prytool to remove the old inner bearing seal



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Fig. Fig. 9: With the seal removed, the inner bearing may be withdrawn from the hub



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Fig. Fig. 10: Thoroughly pack the bearing with fresh, high temperature wheel-bearing grease before installation



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Fig. Fig. 11: Apply a thin coat of fresh grease to the new inner bearing seal lip



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Fig. Fig. 12: Use a suitably sized driver to install the inner bearing seal to the hub



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Fig. Fig. 13: After the bearings are adjusted, install the dust cap by gently tapping on the flange DO NOT damage the cap by hammering on the center

  1. Remove the wheel and tire assembly, and the brake drum or brake caliper.
  2.  
  3. On those cars with disc brakes, remove the hub and disc as an assembly. Remove the caliper mounting bolts and insert a block between the brake pads as the caliper is removed. Remove the caliper and wire it out of the way.
  4.  
  5. Pry out the grease cap, cotter pin, spindle nut, and washer, then remove the hub. Do not drop the wheel bearings.
  6.  
  7. Remove the outer roller bearing assembly from the hub. The inner bearing assembly will remain in the hub and may be removed after prying out the inner seal. Discard the seal.
  8.  
  9. Clean all parts in solvent (air dry) and check for excessive wear or damage.
  10.  
  11. Using a hammer and drift, remove the bearing cups from the hub. When installing new cups, make sure they are not cocked and that they are fully seated against the hub shoulder.
  12.  
  13. Using a high melting point bearing lubricant, pack both inner and outer bearings.
  14.  
  15. Place the inner bearing in the hub and install a new inner seal, making sure the seal flange faces the bearing cup.
  16.  
  17. Carefully install the wheel hub over the spindle.
  18.  
  19. Using your hands, firmly press the outer bearing into the hub. Install the spindle washer and nut, and adjust as instructed earlier in this section.
  20.  

1970-81

  1. Remove the hub and disc assembly as described in Steps 1-3 of the 1967-69 model procedure.
  2.  
  3. Remove the outer roller bearing assembly from the hub. The inner bearing assembly can be removed after prying out the inner seal. Discard the seal.
  4.  
  5. Wash all parts in solvent and check for excessive wear or damage.
  6.  


CAUTION
Do not blow the bearing dry with compressed air as this would allow the bearing to turn without lubrication.

  1. To replace the outer or inner race, knock out the old race with a hammer and brass drift. New races must be installed squarely and evenly to avoid damage.
  2.  
  3. Pack the bearings with a high melting-point bearing lubricant. Apply a sizeable dab of lubricant to the palm of one hand. Using your other hand, work the bearing into the lubricant so that the grease is pushed through the rollers and out the other side. Keep rotating the bearing while continuing to push the lubricant through it.
  4.  
  5. Lightly grease the spindle and the inside of the hub.
  6.  
  7. Place the inner bearing in hub race and install a new grease seal.
  8.  
  9. Carefully install the hub and disc assembly.
  10.  
  11. Install the outer wheel bearing.
  12.  
  13. Install the washer and nut and adjust the bearings according to the procedure outlined earlier in this section.
  14.  
  15. Install the caliper and torque the mounting bolts to 35 ft. lbs.
  16.  
  17. Install the dust cap and the wheel and tire assembly, then lower the car to the ground.
  18.  

 
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